Daniel W. Drezner

When satire beats scholarship

It took me forty pages of pretty dense prose to explain why China’s massive dollar holdings do not translate into increased foreign policy leverage. Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live’s cold open managed to summarize the subtleties of the Sino-American economic relationship in under seven minutes.  Go ahead and watch it.  I’ll wait.    Note ...

It took me forty pages of pretty dense prose to explain why China’s massive dollar holdings do not translate into increased foreign policy leverage.

Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live’s cold open managed to summarize the subtleties of the Sino-American economic relationship in under seven minutes.  Go ahead and watch it.  I’ll wait. 

 

Note that, although it appears that President Hu has the power because he is repeatedly berating Obama, the content of the skit suggests otherwise.  Hu’s repeated complaints that the United States is, er, "doing sex" to him demonstrates the very limited leverage China has over U.S. policy. 

My only complaint with the skit is that it fails to mention why China is buying up dollar-denominated assets in the first place. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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